Five For Friday: Making The NBA

So you want to be an NBA player? Well, if you're a Top 100 prospect we've got some information for you. However, our advice is to read quickly and get to work on your game!

"Five For Friday" decided to explore the topic of Top 100 lists this week. Our assignment was to get a general feel for the chances a Top 100 prospect has of drawing an NBA paycheck.

We decided to go back to the Class of 2001 and examine the lists through the Class of 2004. In some cases, the data was more "hard" than others and towards the later years of the sample we had to make some judgment calls on whether or not the player would draw an NBA paycheck. In the end, a reasonable assessment was made and some conclusions were drawn based on the data.

We completely understand that in order to make this a rock-solid study we'd need to draw upon a larger sample while allowing for the careers of the younger players to mature. Our purpose was to merely paint a picture of the chances a Top 100 prospect has when it comes to earning an NBA paycheck.

Here's what we found:

Top 100 Prospects And The Chances of Earning NBA Paychecks

27% of Top 100 Prospects
Of the 500 players on our Top 100 lists from 2001-2004, 135 of them are projected to receive compensation from an NBA team. That means you have a 27% chance of making it to the league if you find your way onto a Top 100 list. Now, if you aren't a Top 10 player, the chance of getting paid is reduced to just 22%. If you are ranked 11-100 in the Class of 2006, stop reading this and find a gym. NOW!
41% of Top 50 Prospects
The correct thing to do with your future, provided your ranking is 1-50 in your class, is flip a coin. If you flipped a coin for a chance to play in the NBA as a Top 50 high schooler, your odds would obviously be 50-50. In reality, the chances are slightly slimmer. Top 50 prospects have been afforded a 41% chance of cashing a paycheck from an NBA team. If you're a baller, you've got a shot. But, there is little room for error so get to work.
64%of Top 25 Prospects
It pays to be good and here's where we first notice some serious separation from the field. By being a Top 25 high school prospect, you've given yourself a 64% chance of trading in your textbooks for playbooks. Maybe a different way of looking at the statistic would be to say that in the Class of 2002, we project 17 of the Top 25 players to get paid. In 2003 that number dipped to 16 and went up to slightly more than 20 in 2004.
86% of Top 10 Prospects
Jackpot! By being named to's Top 10 in your class, the odds of earning an NBA paycheck skyrocket to 86%! Stay out of trouble and made good decisions and you're going to get paid and forge a career in pro basketball. All 10 of the elite players from 2004 should get paid and taking it a step further, so should the 10 best from 2005. If you're this good, you almost have to find a way to screw it up (see Jonathan Hargett).
12% of Top 10's Are All-Stars
The guys with the fattest wallets and finest ladies are the all-stars. They've got the biggest dollar contracts and the bling to prove it. Everybody wants to be an all-star. Well, here's the bad news. We know that if you're a Top 10 player in your high school class you're probably getting paid. However, as a Top 10 prospect, you stand only a 12% chance of being an all-star and achieving megastar status. Life is still very good for you.

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